Date of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


The international security environment has changed. In the last two decades, new challengers to the American liberal order arose, with China being the most defiant one, in political and military terms. Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative opened the doors to these extra-continental powers, as their loans provided an alternative source of funding for Latin America, walking these countries away from American-led lending institutions. In this new context, Latin America becomes a desirable piece of land in which these new challengers can safely create trade routes while decreasing American influence. Russia and Iran also want to project power in America’s backyard. Furthermore, the presence of terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah, and their relationship with criminal organizations, such as guerrilla groups and cartels, also pose a severe threat to these countries and the United States. Finally, the possible prospect of conflict with China, Russia, or Iran makes this continent vital for their interests in undermining America’s safety through its southern border. For these reasons, this thesis tries to address these challenges, while assessing several courses of action the United States can take to block them and keep America safe.


United States, Latin America, threats, China, Iran, Russia, terrorism

Subject Categories

International and Area Studies | Political Science


© Santiago Spadiliero

Open Access